Conferences have a lot in common. Lanyards, crowds, business cards, cocktails. They're a flurry of networking and learning, connecting and hustling. And their greatest value is often found in those small, unexpected moments when a speaker says something that illuminates the why behind what you're doing, or a fellow attendee makes a joke that doubles as shrewd commentary.

This year's Adobe Summit was three jam-packed days of brilliant ideas dedicated to digital transformation and CX, and our team left with more than a few gems. Here's what we overheard (online AND offline) that teach us about what makes a conference great and how to excel at digital marketing.

"No one's waking up in the morning asking themselves what they can do to make your dream come true. You have to fight for your own dreams." -Reese Witherspoon

This one wasn't "overheard" so much as it was broadcast during an interview on the main stage with Reese Witherspoon, but still. It's a sobering reminder of the fact that 1) your unique vision matters, and you must be a fierce advocate for it. and 2) digital transformations are, at their most promising, a means of empowering executives, influencers, entrepreneurs, and creatives to actualize their deepest aspirations.

"There are seasons for saying yes to everything." -Anonymous

Planning in advance can help you make the most of the time you have at a conference, but don't forget to be on the lookout for serendipity. You never know what you're going to learn or who you're going to meet. By keeping a positive, open attitude, you may just "bump into" your new boss, business partner or best friend.

"You actually look like your picture!" -Anonymous

Conferences are fantastic opportunities for networking, but they're now also hubs for the creative collision of on- and off-line worlds. Leading up to the conference, make sure your social content is current. During and after the event, be sure to connect on social with new friends and acquaintances. This way, you'll unleash the power of an end-to-end approach to nurture your network and build your brand.

"This room has over 1 billion followers." -@Mowenranger

That's a Tweet from Matthew Owen amidst a room full of Adobe Insiders participating in a Twitter chat. His remark speaks volumes about the awe-inspiring reach a modest-sized group of well-chosen influencers can have, and the compelling convergence of digital spaces and physical places.

"Over 76% of teens have or are planning on having an entrepreneurial venture." -Kathleen Hessert, founder of WeRGenZ
With entrepreneurship and side hustles becoming cooler and more common every day, there's a huge white space for tools that empower freelancers and small business owners to do their independent-yet-connected thing. Among the best is Adobe's Premiere Rush CC, a social-friendly app that makes it easy to produce shareable content to fuel and sustain audience engagement. (Speaking of audience engagement, Adobe gave all 17 thousand conference attendees a free year-long subscription. Thanks, Adobe!)

"Between AI, AR, VR, IoT, RPA, etc, we have enough acronyms to change CXM to become immersive, integrated, and exciting."

"We just have to make sure it all stays human-centric." -@kateo

Amen, Kate O'Neill. No matter how tech-driven or innovative customer experience management might be, if it isn't human-centric, it's missing the point.

"Retention is the new growth." -Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe
Apparently, this is an oft-repeated mantra within the Adobe ecosystem. Adobe is walking its talk and doing a great job of shifting the conversation from an out-dated linear funnel to a dynamic, relationship-centric flywheel. With so much evolution and innovation underway, we couldn't help but come home with the feeling, Wheee! What a phenomenal ride!